Fry Lodge is Hot

We picked up the keys of our new house today. And it is hot. I mean really hot. It has a sauna. To celebrate taking possession of our new home this evening, we moved the following items to Fry Lodge Belllingham II: one Weber grill, one firepit, one turntable, a few dozen records, four Adirondack chairs, and our bathrobes. After enjoying a tasty meal, we cranked up the sauna and steamed up the place. Can’t wait to move in permanently.

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Birthday Karaoke in the Mall

Kristine and I had just left Target, which is attached to the mall, to buy her birthday present together – a FitBit that I’d later wrap with the kids and Kristine would pretend was a surprise. This is what our birthdays have become. Last weekend, I’d had pre-knowledge of my birthday gift, too. As Kristine and I walked through the mall, pondering this clinical approach to celebration, we passed the karaoke booth. I was nostalgically thinking about all our visits to Ozzie’s over the years when Kristine said, “Hey, do you want to sing karaoke with me for my birthday?” I said yes.

Happy birthday, Kristine. Heaven is being locked in a mall karaoke booth with you for eternity.

Spring break Fry Lodge Style

Because we don’t have enough happening at Fry Lodge, we decided to change everything all at once. Again. Within a period of a week, we made an offer on a new house, put our house up for sale, Marie Kondo’d the hell out of Fry Lodge, took a trip to the Oregon Coast to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary and frolic in the 50-degree Pacific Ocean, regrouped for a day in Seattle, and then went our separate ways again – Kristine and the kids back to Bellingham and me to New York. Stay tuned for more details on Fry Lodge Bellingham II.

Just another week at Fry Lodge

A Long Goodbye

For weeks, all anybody in Seattle has been talking about is Viadoom, the anticipated gridlock to follow the permanent closure of the elevated portion of Highway 99, otherwise known as the Viaduct.

As Ruby and I departed the Henrybuilt holiday party on Friday night (Henry and Kristine had left earlier), I remembered the Viaduct was scheduled to close – forever – at 10pm. It was 9:45. We could get to the Viaduct in 5 minutes. I asked Ruby if she was up for an adventure. Silly question.

Best Christmas Ever

The Fry Family Quartet just wrapped up a week in Grafton, Vermont, with the family with whom we’ve made the most memories over the years. Brian, Jesse, JoJo and Becca were amazing hosts, tour guides and playmates. We went hiking, skiing, swimming, and made snow forts. We made cookies, tenderloin, ham and ginger bread houses. We watched James Bond, Harry Potter, Rudolph and Elf. We shopped, played board games and lit fires. We told stories, laughed and cried. And, despite my speeding ticket in Felchville, we all agreed it was the best Christmas vacation on record. We love you BE, Jess, JoJo and Becca. Can’t wait to do it all again in Bellingham.

Christmas Eve Mission in Woodstock

“Your mission, if you choose to accept it…” was how the letter started. JoJo, Henry and Ruby’s cousin, was reading aloud a handwritten letter (by me) to her cousins and sister as we all stood in front of a country store on the main street of Woodstock, Vermont. Their mission, the letter continued, was to spend the twenty dollar bill they each had found in their respective envelopes they’d just been handed. Later, over hot chocolate, they were to report back to the group what they had purchased and why they had purchased it.

We are spending our Christmas vacation in Vermont with our favorite Brooklyn family. We planned to attend Christmas Eve mass in Woodstock, and we had a few hours to kill; so we decided to mess with the kids bit. We’d told them we would be spending the afternoon in the Woodstock public library reading books before mass. To our surprise, they weren’t entirely dreading it. Henry was maybe even a little excited.

After parking the car and walking through downtown Woodstock toward the library, I stopped abruptly on the sidewalk and asked the kids to gather round. That’s when we distributed their envelopes that included crisp twenty dollar bills and the handwritten letter that JoJo read aloud. Forty five minutes later, we all emerged from the country store, each with a bag containing something valued at twenty dollars. The kids all underspent, so they pooled their change to buy candy.

From there we proceeded to the Woodstock Inn, where over hot cocoa and dessert, we unveiled our purchases – youngest to oldest. All three girls bought ginger bread house kits. Henry bought a model locomotive. Kristine went with a spiral vegetable slicer. Jesse bought her favorite home remedy – apple cider vinegar, and Brian got some hot pads. I opted for backgammon to add to the Eiting board game collection.

I’m not sure if this will become a new family tradition, but it was a fun way to spend some quality family time on Christmas Eve in Woodstock.

Ruby Wins

Every day, for more than two years, Ruby has been asking for a pug. And every day, I have steadfastly held to my no-pet position, citing everything from logistics to her daily chore track record as my rationale. It’s gone back and forth, with each side digging in deeper. It felt like the Cold War. Every night at the dinner table, Ruby would have another impassioned speech for me – à la ‘Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall! ‘ Ruby wore me down. She outspent me in the emotion department. She spread her propaganda around Fry Lodge with her cute pug sketches, pug posters and Doug the Pug Instagram shares. She turned Kristine and Henry into allies.

A few weeks ago, I woke up and decided I didn’t want to be on the wrong side of Fry Lodge history. For her 10th birthday, we would give Ruby a pug. We surprised her with it on our drive back from Grandma and Grandpa’s house after Thanksgiving. She was shocked. She was victorious.

As Ruby turned 10 this weekend, it became clear we had made the right decision. Ruby is starting her second decade a new person. Every morning and evening, she takes her new little buddy, Arlo, for a walk. She feeds him, cleans up the occasional mess, and prefers playing with her puppy over watching YouTube videos.

Ruby had a birthday slumber party on her actual birthday. Arlo was the star of the show. The girls chased him around the yard and then took 15-minute turns holding the puppy as they watched Christmas movie classic, Elf. Both Arlo and the girls were moving a little slowly this morning.

Detente is over. Ruby won. All is good at Fry Lodge. Happy birthday, Ruby. We love you more than you will ever know. Thank you for your tenacity.